During election time, there are three agendas on every politician’s to-do list. Better jobs, better education and better housing.
The right wing and left wing have very different ideas on how to go about doing this–especially as it pertains to the handling of the economy. If not for the decade long French Revolution which started in 1789, we would still be living in the feudal era. Sons would succeed fathers and we–the people–would not have gotten a say.
In the modern era, having ‘a say’ means having two options. There are usually two parties in most democratic nations and each seems to win for a while and then lose for a while. Is this a natural state of affairs? In a democratic system, I’d say that the answer is yes. In a son-must-succeed-father system, I’d say that the answer is no. The political intrigues that would ensue in succession politics is the stuff of soap operas that I would rather not get into.
So let’s stick to the system that many of us are familiar with and whose ideals we always try to espouse: the democratic one. We are all equal. The right-wing folk will deny this vehemently. I sometimes find myself wondering if the right-wing is a remnant of the feudal era. Anyways, I digress.
In a democratic system, we are all equal. Our income levels may fluctuate, leading to all kinds of differences in socioeconomic standing, but we are still equal. Does that mean that we’re all the same? Of course not. Does that mean that our abilities, cultures and histories are all the same? Of course not.
In a political system, it means that our votes are all equal. I don’t get 1/4 of a vote vis-a-vis my gender or skin colour. But this is exactly what the feudal era was about. People didn’t have a voice. Minorities, women, anyone who wasn’t empowered didn’t get ‘to exist’ under the eyes of the law. Your best hope at the time–especially if you were a woman–was to land yourself an ultra magnanimous husband who would swoon over you. Anyways, I digress again.
In a democratic system, each and every single one of us has equal voting power. That’s what equality means as an egalitarian ideal. And with this vote, we get to choose, or at least we should have the option to vote someone into office as well as to vote someone out of office.
In the US, presidents are limited to two terms. That’s probably not enough time to make any long term and lasting changes while you are in office. But maybe that’s the point. You’re not supposed to be there in the top job for decades on end, even if you’re seriously good at it. Maybe others should get a chance, too.
And let’s say that the people did make the ‘wrong’ choice. Well, 4 years is bearable. Imagine having to live under a terrible and lousy leader for decades on end. In certain countries, leaders literally stay in power till they die. They refuse to pass the baton to the next generation or anyone at all.
When you didn’t get a say in who you chose to lead you, it can, by default, feel like a repressive regime. History has shown us time and time again that consolidating power within a family lineage or a small elite has led to revolts, revolutions and protests against those who wield it.
It all boils down to whether or not you had a say and had a voice in the decision-making process. If you did, and you made the wrong decision, the democratic system allows you to make a different choice the next time around. If you didn’t get to choose and you have to live with the consequences, all that repressed rage and anger will eventually reach a boiling point–especially if it’s accompanied by a flailing economy and people who can’t feed themselves.
I’ve read a lot about politics over the past few months and I’ve noticed a trend. Politicians of democratic nations only ever seem to promise their people the big three: better jobs, better education and better housing.
What does a king or a monarch say? He tells you he is or has a direct link with God and is a representative of a higher power on earth. He tells you that he has ‘a right to rule’.
Well, I just Thank God it’s not 1789 anymore.